Combined Diffuse Optical Tomography (DOT) and MRI System for Cancer Imaging in Small Animals

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Recently, there has been a great amount of interest in developing multi-modality imaging techniques for oncologic research and clinical studies with the aim of obtaining complementary information and, thus, improving the detection and characterization of tumors. In this present work, the details of a combined MR-diffuse optical imaging system for dual-modality imaging of small animals are given. As a part of this effort, a multi-spectral frequency domain diffuse optical tomography system is integrated with an MRI system. Here, a network analyzer provides the rf modulation signal for the laser diodes and measures the amplitude and the phase of the detected signals. Photomultiplier tubes are utilized to measure low-level signals. The integration of this optical imaging system with the 4T MRI system is realized by incorporating a fiber adaptive interface inside the MR magnet. Coregistration is achieved by a special probe design utilizing fiducial markers. A finite element algorithm is used to solve the diffusion equation and an inverse solver based on this forward solver is implemented to calculate the absorption and scattering maps from the acquired data. The MR a priori information is used to guide the optical reconstruction algorithm. Phantom studies show that the absorption coefficient of a 7 mm inclusion in an irregular object located in 64 mm phantom is recovered with 11% error when MR a priori information is used. ENU induced tumor model is used to test the performance of the system in vivo.

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